Paul Estermann, pictured riding Castlefield Eclipse at London 2012, has been banned from equestrian sport for seven years ©Getty Images

Olympic showjumper Paul Estermann has been banned from equestrian sport for seven years for animal cruelty offences.

Estermann, who represented Switzerland at the London 2012 Olympics in both team and individual events, was hit with the ban following an investigation by the Swiss Equestrian Federation (SVPS) Sanctions Commission.

Legal proceedings were launched in 2017 against Estermann following allegations of cruelty against horses Castlefield Eclipse and Lord Pepsi.

Estermann wrote Castlefield Eclipse at London 2012, where he was part of the Switzerland line-up that finished fourth in the team event, before he went on to finish 17th in the individual event.

Estermann and Castlefield Eclipse competed together at the 2013 and 2015 European Championships, as well as the 2014 World Equestrian Games.

The Swiss rider competed with Lord Pepsi at the 2018 World Cup Finals and 2019 European Championships.

The SVPS Board applied for a provisional suspension against Estermann in January, although this was declined by the organisation’s own Sanctions Commission (SAKO) the following month, who claimed there was "no urgency", as the outcome of its investigation was due in March, as reported by Horse and Hound.

An SVPS statement claimed Estermann had shown "no remorse" for his actions, highlighted by the fact that he did not take up an option during the investigation to participate in a "voluntary survey."

"For SAKO, this underpins the behaviour of the rider, who showed no insight and no remorse for his actions throughout the criminal proceedings," the organisation said in a statement.

"After examining the files of the criminal proceedings, SAKO classifies the rider’s behaviour as absolutely unacceptable.

Estermann, pictured here riding Lord Pepsi in 2019, showed
Estermann, pictured here riding Lord Pepsi in 2019, showed "no remorse" for his actions according to investigators ©Getty Images

"He intentionally injured a horse moderately and caused him severe pain.

"The rider has thus defied the guidelines of the equestrian association.

"Such behaviour not only damages the image of equestrian sport, but also the reputation of the association."

As well as the seven-year ban Estermann has been ordered to pay legal costs of CHF1,200 (£1,080/$1,340/€1,220).

He has 20 days to appeal the decision.

Estermann was found guilty of violating the Animal Welfare Act in 2019 by Willisau District Court.

He appealed this verdict to the Lucerne Cantonal Court, and in 2021 was found guilty of multiple counts of "wilful animal cruelty" against Castlefield Eclipse in 2016 and Lord Pepsi in 2015, although he was acquitted of two further incidents involving Lord Pepsi between 2014 and 2017.

After the Lucerne Cantonal Court’s decision was taken to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, following another appeal by Estermann, the Cantonal Court’s ruling was declared invalid.

After the case was re-examined, Estermann was found guilty by the Lucerne Cantonal Court at a second hearing in December 2022.